WINNIPEG - The man many regard as the linchpin of the Winnipeg Jets’ future will have to overcome the franchise’s past.
There’s little doubt Mark Scheifele is going to be this team’s No. 1 or No. 2 centre, eventually.
But is he ready to start that career now, as a 19-year-old?
The Jets have five games to make that decision. And if this were still the Atlanta Thrashers, we know how it would go.
In their last three drafts, the Thrashers chose Zach Bogosian (third overall), Evander Kane (fourth overall) and Alex Burmistrov (eighth overall), then proceeded to rush them into the NHL like they were Sidney Crosby.
The results have been mixed, and the Jets have continued to pay the price.
Bogosian and Kane were thrust into the NHL as 18-year-olds, while Burmistrov turned 19 early in his first season.
None got any seasoning in the AHL, where good pro habits can be forged without the pressure of being a first-round pick.